Friday, November 12, 2010

Blogs are the cornerstone of personal branding

Using social media to help your personal brand stand out is a smart move, but where do you start? Can I suggest a blog?

Here then is the fourth installment of my personal branding series of blogs (links to the previous three are at the end of this post).

5 key steps to get you off to a good start with a blog:

1. Pick a topic that is uniquely you:
Think passion and interests: You will not be able to sustain a blog on a topic that you don’t feel strongly about. And you should define the scope of your topic. Think Goldilocks and The Three Bears: Something that’s not too big and not too small. For example, don’t just decide to write about public relations, but maybe about public relations for non-profits who are looking to include social media. Then you should be able to sum up your blog’s purpose in a single-sentence elevator pitch that spells out why your blog is unique (and therefore worth following).

2. Be authentic:
Write about what you know, what you find out and where you find it. Be human and allow your blog to grow intellectually as you grow. Become THE expert over time. Followers will gravitate to a blog that is making a journey they can tag along for. Be sure to link to appropriate sources and give credit where it’s due.

3. Be smart:
. Post your best work. There will be posts that need more time for review and rewriting. Make sure you have several blog posts on the go so that you can keep to a posting schedule. But, also, don’t over-second-guess yourself. No post will ever be perfect. Listen to that inner voice. If you think you’ll regret a post a week from now don’t post it. Also make sure your posts inside the magical 250- to 750-word range so that search engine spiders will find and rank your posts.

4. Be interesting and/or newsworthy:
This is easily said, but maybe not so easily done, right? What’s interesting? I found this definition at YourDictionary.com. What’s newsworthy? I like the definition here at Merriam-Webster.com. If you can appeal to these main definitions of interesting and or newsworthiness you will very likely gain an audience.

5. Stick with it:
A blog can be relatively easy to start and sometimes painful to maintain. You never seem to have enough time. You run out of things to write about. Some solutions? Plan an hour or so a week to write and review. Set a realistic goal (say, posting a 250-to-500-word piece weekly) and stick with it. Start a list of potential topics and keep adding to it. For each idea that becomes a post you should add two more to your list. Jot down ideas whenever they hit you. Maintain this list. Stick with it.

Bonus tips:


Make it easy to spread share your blog: Add code (easily found in a Google search) that allows people who like your posts to share it with others across social networking and social bookmarking sites.

Get to know your regular blog visitors: Thank them for their comments (if they leave them) and check out their blogs if they follow yours. You never know where one of these online relationships might lead to a future opportunity.

Collaborate: Ask others to occasionally guest post on your blog and offer to reciprocate. Your name on other blogs gets it in front of fresh eyes.

Be patient: It may take weeks or months of posting to build a following and some relationships. Just understand that it will pay off.

So, are you ready to blog? I hope you try it because as the cornerstone of a social media personal branding strategy it is hard to beat. What didn’t I mention? Please let me know.


Related posts:

1. Personal Branding in Social Media: First Steps
2. Social Media Optimization for Personal Branding
3. Words to live by in social media personal branding

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